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tv   NBC Bay Area News Special  NBC  January 6, 2014 12:00am-12:31am PST

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>> it was an amazing moment for me. >> and you're never too old to get a badge of honor you so
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rightfully deserve. >> there wasn't a dry eye in the place. >> good evening. and thank you so much for welcoming us into your home tonight. we want to share some of the most memorable bay area stories of the year. they have touched the lives of thousands and in one, hundreds of thousands of people. jen bullock got her diagnosis every will any 2013. she decided to make the most of the time she had left. there were some special people, one in familiar who were going to help her do just that. time can be a tricky thing.
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time doesn't move at a steady pace. something jen bullock knows all too well. the few days before her wedding can't go fast enough. what is likely to happen a few months after that? well --. jen and jeff met six years ago. she was a hairdresser, he a yoga instructor. jen making people beautiful on the outside. jeff on their inside. a friend thought these two opposites would attract. she's like, you know, he kind of took all my weirdness in stride. so i think he would be really good for you. >> there was talk of a wedding. in fact, the couple shopped for rings last december. just about the time it turned out that jen developed a cough she couldn't shake. >> i went to the doctors.
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they diagnosed it with ewe moan yeah. i'm 35. they were thinking this is something else. >> in january came the diagnosis. lung cancer, stage 4. last month becomes the diagnosis. >> four to six weeks untreated. and four to six months treated. so when i heard that, i said let's get married because i wanted to focus on life. >> jeff and jen gave themselves two weeks to plan a simple wedding and barbecue reception in jen's patients backyard. that was the plan at least. until a friend posted a request for help on a facebook group for wedding planners. a powing erica read and couldn't forget. >> this was an opportunity i saw to do something extraordinaortr
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for someone else. why not? >> erica from emoriville thought perhaps she would help a little bit on the wedding day. but then stumbled upon her pin tres account and what jen wanted her wedding to be like. one that made time and money impossible. well, impossible until erica decided to get jen e.g. on that page. a job that normally would take months, she did in two weeks. corralling goods and services from more than 60 vendors, worth more than $50,000. all of it, donated for free. >> it was my goal to not have them pay for a time. i thought these people have already suffered enough. why not be able to give them a gift, you know? a wonderful gift that both of them will never forget, their
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families will never forget. >> i think it's amazing. the generosity in their hearts. and that they're so touched by our story. and that -- i guess, like, people have feelings. >> so the plan was set for the last saturday in july, general and sdwref saying their vows under the redwood trees of a nearby park. a marching band then leading them back to general jen's parents' house, transformed into something magical. where jen bullock would likely wish time could stand still. >> thank you for kwoming here to celebrate the marriage of -- >> but time doesn't.
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which is why video is so great. jen and jeff able two weeks later to relive what truly was their dream wedding. >> i now pronounce you husband and wife. >> unsure to this day if wasn't all a dream. >> it was magical. it was the magic moment that we were going for. >> and erica able to look back and realize that yes, she did pull all this off. >> i thought it was amazing. truly, truly one of the best weddings i've ever done if not the best. . >> but the wedding, it turns out, was just part of it. after our original story on jen and jeff aired, pfs viewed, shared, posted and tweeted thousands of time. people from all over the world began sending words, not just of encourage. but praise. >> i felt i was in an alternate
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world. like i'm just jen bullock. and here all these people want to hear what i have to say. >> the highlight for jen was when legendary actor chuck norris trumpeted her courage and strength, qualities others had long seen in her but she had not seen in herself. >> people said i knew you were unique. you're the strongest person i've ever known. and i didn't know that. >> events of the past few weeks have clearly changed jeff and jen's lives. but it turns out, they weren't the only ones. erica who started the whole thing just trying to help two people and ended up touching so many lives says the way she lives her own is forever changed. >> taking it day by day, minute by minute and savoring every single moment. i don't think i've ever really lived my life that way. and i'm starting to learn how to do that. after meeting jen and jeff. >> jen's doctor's prediction was
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sadly very accurate. jen died at home peacefully on october 10. thousands of people also responded to the story of lisa blanchard, a woman filling a need most of us didn't know existed. providing clothing to victims of sexual assault. during a post assault exam, victims often have to give up their clothes for evidence. the state's sexual assault response team due to budget issues often don't have much to replace them with. sometimes seneding victims home in paper hospital gowns. >> it's completely unacceptable. and i remember i had this compulsion down to my feet to do something about it instantly. >> it wasn't an instant, but lisa, a widowed mother of three and undergraduate college student disided to do something about the problem. as part of her senior project, she started collecting food and new clothing. her first stop was at santa clara's facility.
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thanks to lisa and her project, santa clara has a closet full of new clothes and they're not the only ones. a little more than two year, it has expanded to help start programs in 13 california communities with more asking to join all the time. >> still ahead, it's a tiny bay area community that turned a big idea to reality. >> we did that. >> how against all odds, a youth group got pa brand-new state-of-the-art multiuntil dollar home. >> and she did what many other students in her neighborhood never got a chance to do -- graduate from college. >> if it wasn't for them, i wouldn't be here now. >> who they are and what they did for bianca and hundreds of children of the tenderloin coming up next.
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>> dance has always been a big life of vonia's life.
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she found solace during a tough time in her life and figured it would help sick children, too. >> i was stuck, right? they're stuck, too. they're stuck with their cancer, they're stuck with their traumatic brain injury, their burns, their life that they didn't ask for. >> seven years later, bonnie's nonprofit dance and power has a dozen teachers and has expanded to a second hospital. >> our next story about the amazing journey of michael santos is going to sound a lot like a movie which is fitting because it starts with a movie. "scar face." in his early 20s, michael wanted to be just like the drug kingpin main character. it took him just two years to reach that goal. and the next 20-plus years to reach a very different one.
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>> did everybody check your e-mail today? i sent you ten questions. >> if any of michael san francisco state students began this school year asking their teacher how he spent his summer, the answer might surprise them. michael was in federal custody. >> you know, i just want to share pli experience with you. >> then again, prison is where michael santos has spent the last 26 summers. of his life. >> 26 years, 9,500 days. 9,500 days from entrance to release. >> it was in 1987 that michael was convicted in federal court of bag drug kingpin. of shipping kilos of cocaine from miami to his hometown of seattle. >> i made every bad decision you could make. >> but before michael was even sentenced, before he spent a single of those 9,500 nights in prison, michael made one very good decision. he picked up a philosophy book
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and learned about socrates. >> particularly when he had an opportunity to escape he said no, i'm not going to do that. i live in a democracy and in a democracy, i have the right to change the laws that i don't believe. but i don't have a right to break the laws. that's what totally transformed my life. >> michael vowed then and there to do his time, educate himself and become a contributing member to society. >> what followed was an undergraduate degree from mercer university, a masters degree from hofstra university. michael was even on his way to ph.d. until his warden shut that down. >> the warden sate, this is a threat to our security. we're not a university. this is a prison. still he says that enabled him to the focus on writing, aided at that point by his wife carroll. they met while michael was behind bars and have been
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married for ten years now. while in prison, michael published more than half a dozen books about his experience and prison life in general. professors around the country began adding his work to their courses. but it was one school, though, that decided to add michael himself. >> i said really? it was an amazing moment to think the university was going to hire me. >> the transition though was not about its bumps. >> the biggest bump was learning how to drive. i don't know that i didn't know how to drive, but as soon as i got behind the wheel, i realized i don't know how to drive. but if you are the bright mind that this institution cultivates -- >> michael true to form has conquered that by now. now traveling the country, spreading the word about what he sees as the biggest evil in our country -- >> mas incarceration. everybody here knows somebody who's been incarcerated. >> and how societies and prisoners can overcome it. >> i believe anybody can become more than the bad doifgs their
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past. >> stand up! be heerd! >> rising above adversity is what one middle school is about. giving students a leg up with a free education. the school was founded last decade. and bianca rojo was one of its first graduates to get a college degree from san francisco state. the school prides itself on helping students all the way through their education, either financially or emotional bianca needing both, since both her parents were deported to mexico eight years ago. >> there was always something that could be done, which was something that i'm -- i mean, i'm always going to be grateful because in it wasn't for them, i wouldn't be here. >> the kids stay at school from
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7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. it's intended to keep the kids off the streets and out of trouble. >> coming uh, proof that you're never too young to make a difference. >> i'm seriously just amazed that at 7 years old, she gets it and she knows how to drive towards a goal. >> how the death of this young girl's mother to breast cancer inspired her to help find a cure.
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you are our next story begins with a 7-year-old who just lost her mother to cancer. she's in the kitchen counting money. her dad asks her what she's doing. she said she's going to do something about the cancer that killed her mom. the captains are meeting at a san jose middle school. there are just a couple of weeks left until their annual fundraising walk for the american cancer society. >> sumer excited about how we're doing so far this year. >> among the close to 100 captains, though, one stands
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out. and by that we don't mean you sometimes find her standing on chair. >> no, she's not just the youngest captain by far. her team has raised the most money by dpar. >> this is not kenna's first. her family fielded a team last year. >> seven laps equals a mile. i walked ten, my mom walked ten. >> her mother robin had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. but after a period of success thanks to radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, the cancer had returned. robin would not live to see this year's relay. >> bake sale, bake sale. cookies, brown knees. bake sale. >> beginning the day after her mother's day, kenna has thrown herself, all 50 pounds of it into this year's event. she says team reader kids has raised the most because they work the hardest. and are the cutest.
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>> both were in evidence at a recent bake sale outside their neighborhood safe way. the more than $700 this event pulled in are on top of the more than $16,000 kenna's team has raised. >> evening she's amazing. i seriously am just amazed that at 7 years old, she gets it and she knows how to drive towards a goal and she's making it happen. she's an inspiration to her father. she says/ironically it's been his daughters who set the for life without their mom. >> it's almost like it neutralizes my pain. if they can handle it as well as they are, i should be too. >> it seems they knew the right recipe for a loss. do keep busy, don't feel sorry for yourself, and above all, make sure you find at least some good in something bad.
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>> have you ever heard of the community of ashland? if you haven't you're not alone. people who live there say they're used to being overlooked and also underserved. but with the help of a teenage group and their inspirational leader, all that changed to the tune of a brand-new $25 million community youth center opened earlier this year. nine years ago, hillary bass met a group of kids who said there's nothing to do in town. together they lobbied as loudly as they could until nate miley listened, eventually corralling millions of redevelopment money to make their dream come true. >> he's been an eagle scout in his heart for as long as he can remember. and now, that honor is in a place for all to see. coming up, why it took 60 years for his achievement to be recognized. america discover the new hper. p
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>> our very first story of 2013 is about george maher owho for decades have volunteered for the boy scouts, helping 5,000 men reach eagle scout. completed all the requirements to be an eagle scout 60 years ago, which is why what happened in january is still so special. >> spend enough time around the boy scouts like they do at the pacific skyline headquarters in foster city, and they say you can always spot the eagles. it's not the pin on the chest or the patch on the sleeve. it's something special. on the inside. anyone who's ever known george says is inside him. it's why when mark manchester started work here last year and met george, he didn't even ask george if he were an eagle scout. >> i didn't ask if i said what year did you get your eagle scout? and i said it should have been
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march 10, 1944. >> should have, because george never official 4ri was an eagle scout. he had all the merit badges, sure, but in the mid of his board of review hearing, the very last step needed before becoming an eagle scout, george's mother interrupted the meeting. >> she told me my father was not doing well. and she was headed to the hospital. i didn't say anything. i just grabbed my stuff and i said we're going. >> george's father died later that day, and within a matter of weeks, george was in the south pacific fighting the japanese. >> a violent typhoon. >> and the weather. >> it was during one typhoon in particular that george was tossed about the deck so violently he lost his wallet containing his life card, the only written proof of his boy
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scout accomplishments. george returned to the states, got married, raised a family and did write one letter to the boy scouts asking about his award. >> and the letter that i wrote was returned to me addressee unknown. that's it. i'm out of luck. >> and that was that until that day last year when george told mark his story. this time mark sent some letters off himself. these were returned with a very different message. >> it was a letter saying that i am an eagle scout and they gave me the date of march 10, 1944. and there wasn't a dry eye in the place. >> george had always told himself the eagle scout thing didn't bother him too much. but perhaps down deep it really did. >> on my honor i will do my best -- >> which is why this past sunday meant so much. 68 year, nine months and seven
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days late, george got his pen, his patch. got what he had earneded. ultimately what's in your heart matters so much more than what's on your chest. in george's case, though, the two finally are in perfect match. thanks again for watching some of our favorite bay area proud stories from the last year. to see all our stories go to our website, nbc bay /bay area proud. have a great night. here's wishing you good news in the new year.
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welcome to "on the money." stocks are their best in more than a decade. what will 2014 bring? how and where to invest now. the face that offers a lot more than checking and saving. and much of the country battered by bitter winter weather. is it time to think about that getaway to warmer clients? "on the money" starts right now. here's a look at what's making news as we head into a new week. stocks began the ne


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